For years the HIPAA regulations have been criticized as “lacking
any teeth” because no one had ever been sentenced to prison. That perception may
change in the not too distant future. Two former hospital employees and a
doctor plead guilty to misdemeanor violations of the Health Insurance
Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) in a Little Rock federal court yesterday, reports ArkansasBusiness.com.
They were accused of inappropriately accessing the medical files of Anne Pressly, the KATV-TV, Channel 7, reporter who was fatally
attacked in her home in October, a patient at the St. Vincent Infirmary
last fall. Each defendant faces up to a year in prison and could also be fined
up to $50,000, the report states.
St. Vincent fired at least six employees for looking
at the same files after a routine audit revealed inappropriate access.